Russia’s Western Siberian regions have been hit with arctic temperatures that plummeted to minus 40 degrees Celsius (minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit), and this deep freeze is expected to last until December 28. Due to the cold spell, military units deployed to these regions have cut the duration of their guard shifts. In addition, zookeepers are fattening up animals with a high-calorie diet to help them weather the frigid temperatures, while utility services had to deal with the aftermath of a heat transport system accident, TASS reported.
The Central Military District’s 41st Combined Arms Army Command has taken additional measures in order to ensure the safety of military personnel. "Warming centers have been set up at field facilities. Guard shift duration has been reduced from two hours to just one," the Central Military District’s press service told TASS.
Animals kept in Siberian zoos are now receiving a high-calorie diet so that they can endure the freezing temperatures. "We feed our animals the best food and provide them with enough meat and vitamins to help them make it through the cold weather. Each of the animals has enough hay and straw to sleep on," Barnaul Zoo Director Sergey Pisarev told TASS.
On Monday night, more than 1,000 residents of five apartment buildings in the town of Berdsk, in the Novosibirsk Region, were left without central heating, the regional emergency agency said. Due to a failure in the heat transport system, indoor temperatures sank to 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit). Moreover, there was also a risk that room temperatures would fall in 180 apartment buildings simultaneously. The system was repaired late on Monday, but indoor temperatures were restored only by five o’clock on Tuesday morning.
Having endured several gas tank explosions and fires last winter, authorities in the Omsk Region have tightened security and stepped up an awareness campaign.
Siberia’s frigid countdown to the New Year
According to the Western Siberian Meteorological Center, the deep freeze will stick around in the Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo and Altai Regions until Friday. That said, conditions in the Omsk Region are expected to change on December 27, when daytime temperatures will rise to minus 22 degrees Celsius (minus 7.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Meanwhile, on December 26-27, thermometers are expected to plunge to minus 33-38 degrees Celsius (minus 27.4-36.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Buryatia Region, while sinking to minus 44-49 degrees Celsius (minus 47.2-56.2 degrees Fahrenheit) in some of the region’s northern and southwestern districts.